The Sonora ISD board of trustees accepted the resignation of Superintendent Ross Aschenbeck and his wife, Richelle Aschenbeck, seventh grade teacher, at their regular meeting on Wednesday, December 9th.

Aschenbeck is leaving to take a similar post at Industrial ISD in Vanderbilt, Texas. “ The last five and a half years in Sonora have been a blessing. My family and I have had a great time in Sonora.” stated Aschenbeck.

The board met again on Monday, December 14th at which time they discussed hiring an interim superintendent. They also held a farewell reception for the Aschenbeck’s at the Monday meeting.

Following the reception for the Aschenbeck’s on December 14, 2020, the Board of Trustee’s entered into closed session. Upon return to open session the board announced Mr. Don Gibson as Interim Superintendent. He will assume duties of the Superintendent of Sonora schools on January 4, 2021 when school resumes following the Christmas break.

Mr. Gibson was the former Superintendent of Schools in Sonora for a little over five years, serving as interim superintendent in 2005 and superintendent from August 2008-2011.

Meanwhile, during last week’s regular meeting, the board heard the superintendent’s report that included details of the long-range plan for staffing to handle the decreasing enrollment in Sonora schools. Aschenbeck, explained that enrollment has been declining over the past five years, when there were 950 students. During the last school year (2019-2020) the district had 770 students enrolled, this number has again declined and Aschenbeck reports current district wide enrollment at 690 students. The declining student enrollment affects the budget of the district as it impacts the state funding received.

Aschenbeck reported that he has met with the campus principals and the athletic director to develop staffing plans. While there are no plans for a reduction in force, there will be some assignment modifications to allow the most efficient operation of the district.

Board members heard consent agenda items and reviewed the business managers report. Consent agenda items included the Tax/Assessor Collector report, minutes from the November 9, 2020 regular meeting, November 11, 2020 special meetings and the Quarterly Investment Report. The Business Manager Report was reviewed and approved.

Next the board heard and approved the FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) report. The district received a 100, or an A which is considered a superior rating for the 2019-2020 school year. The rating process involves the review of 17 indicators of financial responsibility. The district scored perfectly on each. Shanna Petty- Castro, Board President thanked Aschenbeck and Principals Mr. Michael Kissire and Mr. Rene Valeriano for their hard work in ensuring the district was meeting all the standards set forth for this evaluation.

The board then approved the campus improvement plans for the 2020-2021 school year. These include meeting goals that were put in place as a result of House Bill 3 and approved by the board during the October 12, 2020 regular meeting.

Service contracts with outside vendors were renewed by for two years with Banister and Son Plumbing, MC Electric and Mungia Southwest Heating and Air Condition.
The Financial Audit report and Budget Amendment #1 were discussed, reviewed and approved. Aschenbeck reported that the district did experience struggles with attendance and remote learning which will have an effect on the budget.

The last order of business addressed during open session was the approval of a consulting contract between the school district and Aschenbeck from December 19, 2020 until February 15, 2021.

The board then took a short break and entered into closed session. Upon return to open session the board approved the hiring of Donna Jo Moses as a One Act Play teacher and accepted the resignation of Richelle Aschenbeck, seventh grade teacher and Ross Aschenbeck, Superintendent.

Mr. Aschenbeck said, “I would like to extend a thank you to all the teachers, staff, central administration staff, school board members, Judge Steve Smith, Matt Killough, Eddy Smith and Bill Harris. I have probably left out several. We have made some great memories in Sonora.”

Our two children, Shelby and Brock will always have wonderful memories of Sonora as well, they both graduated from Sonora High School,” Aschenbeck continued.

School Board Meetings are open to the public. They are held in the board room located at the Vocational Building. The board meets monthly.